SCHOOLS NorthEast, the representative body for all 1,250 schools in the region, today announced that the nation’s foremost figure in child emotional wellbeing will chair its North East Schools-led Commission on pupils’ mental health.
Professor Dame Sue Bailey, current Chair of the Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition and formerly the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, has agreed to lead the initiative which is understood to be the first of its kind in this country.
Dame Sue, who is also Honorary Professor of Mental Health Policy in the North West of England, has dedicated more than 30 years of her professional career to improving the mental health of children and young people.
Commenting on the announcement, Dame Sue said: “The time has come for us all to take action and improve young people's mental health and wellbeing and prevent mental health problems developing.
“The strength of SCHOOLS NorthEast is that it represents such a large community of schools who are not only committed to academic excellence, but as importantly to the emotional wellbeing of their pupils. At a time when schools are potentially becoming more atomised and policy more fragmented, this group of schools has decided to share good practice, learn from collective successes (and mistakes) in order to improve the lives of children and young people in the North East.
“That is why the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition are delighted to be working with SCHOOLS NorthEast. I personally feel privileged to be asked to chair the Commission.
Director of SCHOOLS NorthEast Mike Parker said: “We could not have hoped for anyone better to chair this Commission.
“Dame Sue has a global reputation in her field and her involvement in this initiative is an indication of the transformative impact we hope this Commission will have on pupil wellbeing.
“While the Government has led several important pieces of work aimed at tackling growing problems in child mental health, this is the first time that schools have taken the lead in really getting to grips with the underlying causes and impact on pupils of mental ill-health at this scale. This is a crucial piece of work if we are to reverse the horrific rise in pupils being treated for mental health issues.”
The Commission, Healthy MindED, was launched in response to consistent concerns cited by Head Teachers in the region regarding the decline in children’s good mental health. It will bring school leaders together with key stakeholders to develop a fresh approach that is adoptable across all schools.
The commission will produce an actions-focused report that is adoptable by all schools in the region.
The announcement was made today at the SCHOOLS NorthEast Summit by Dr Bernard Trafford, a SCHOOLS NorthEast Trustee and Headmaster of the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle.